Citing "declining membership and funding", the Miller Springs Alliance announced Thursday that it was surrendering the lease to the Miller Springs Nature Center to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and that this would likely result in the park being permanently closed. Citizens wishing to preserve the 25-year-old park near Belton Dam are now circulating an online petition in hopes of saving the popular hiking and climbing spot.

A petition created by Vanessa Duke was nearing 5,000 signatures Saturday afternoon. Many in Central Texas have likely seen the petition show up in their social media newsfeeds.

In a Facebook post, Duke expressed frustration at the Alliance's reasons for surrendering their lease, claiming that the group did not reach out to the public for assistance. She wrote that her petition proves that Central Texans are willing to help raise funds and volunteer to keep the park open.

According to the Miller Springs Nature Center Website, the park was founded by volunteers who formed the Miller Springs Alliance following devastating floods in 1991 and 1992. If volunteer efforts led to the founding of the park, it stands to reason that volunteers might now save it.

Some have, in fact, offered help. Posts to the Save Miller Springs Nature Center Facebook Group indicate that one member plans to produce a short film about the park, while another, a member of a local rock climbing club, has offered his group's assistance. Others have recommended getting local Boy and Girl Scout troops involved as well.

If you have any ideas or would like to support efforts to preserve the Miller Springs Nature center, click here to join the Facebook Group, and click here to sign the petition.